Cloudflare is a Content Delivery Network (CDN) and Firewall in one. A CDN places parts of your content closer to the visitors. As a result your website loads faster for people who are further away from your servers. For example, suppose your site is hosted in the Netherlands, but you also have visitors in Southern Italy. The site will load a bit slower for the Italians than for the Dutch. With the help of a CDN, a copy of your site is placed in Italy, so that the site also loads quickly there.
A firewall protects your site against hack- and DDOS attacks. If you are under attack, then Cloudflare is a good and relatively cheap solution.
But Cloudflare is usually used to speed up a website. Cloudflare has different packages for this free, Pro, Business and Enterprise. The free plan is pretty good. If you don’t want to pay usd 20 for the Pro plan, it can already bring many benefits to use the free plan. However, there are some big differences between the free plan and the paid plans. Speed is one of them. With the paid packages you get more optimization options and that can save seconds in loading time. One disadvantage of the free package is that it does not work well in the regions Latin America, Africa and Oceania. Data traffic is a lot more expensive in those regions and that is why the free packages are not being served well there.
Besides that, if you are on the free package and have peaks in traffic because of a social media campaign or adds on tv then you will also quickly run into limits. Peaks of 1.000 or more concurrent users will be blocked. It is clear that Cloudflare has different priorities for free customers . With the Pro package and above it all works very well and is defintely recommended to use. It gives seconds faster loading times, also in the regions of Latin America, Africa and Oceania. The paid packages are also faster than the free plan because it gives you extra optimization options like Image Resizing, Polish, Optimized Delivery, Enhanced HTTP/2 Prioritization, TCP Turbo and MirageBeta.
- Content is closer to the visitors
- Page loading times much faster
- For websites with visitors in different regions
- 24×7 support